May News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

Trauma Training Tip Understanding the nature and function of the Fire Element in the self-protective response is central to working with trauma survivors.   When we experience danger or life threat, the vibration of fear in our Kidney reaches across the control cycle to our Heart Protector.  As humans, our first instinct, unless it has been previously extinguished, is a relational one.  Our Heart Protector is the vehicle that helps us be in relationship with and seek help from the people around us. We are social animals, and in health, our ability to engage with our “tribe” can make a …

Alaine DuncanMay News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

April 2018 News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

Trauma Training Tip Our Wood Element initiates our orientation response when it receives a message across the K’o cycle from our Metal that something “is amiss”.  The first step of the self-protective response uses the interoceptive capacity of the Animal Soul of the Lung, or the Po, to bring awareness of our environment.  The Metal Element sends a message across the control cycle to the Wood Element to initiate orienting to a potential threat. Our body, like those of all animals, assumes a predictive reflexive startle posture.  We turn all our senses toward the potential threat, duck our head, crouch …

Alaine DuncanApril 2018 News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing, March 2018

Trauma Training Tip The eyes are the Wood Element’s sense organ. Together with our senses of hearing, smell, taste and kinesthesia, they support the Wood’s function to orient to our surroundings, assess threats, and strategically plan successful mobilization responses. Eye placement is different in animals that are predators from those that are prey. Predators need to see long distances across a wide range to seek out prey.  Their eye placement is necessarily in the front of their face, with round pupils. Cats, owls and humans are good examples of predator eye placement. Prey animals need to see up close and …

Alaine DuncanNews ‘n Views on Integrative Healing, March 2018

January News ‘n Views

Trauma Training Tip I often draw this image for my clients.  I affirm for them that the zone of resiliency in the center, which acupuncturists will easily recognize as the organic movement between yin and yang; is always there for us.  Nothing can break nature’s fundamental rhythm between day and night, summer and winter.  When an overwhelming experience causes a rupture in the boundary that holds our Qi, we become stronger, faster, clearer and more able to mount a successful and life protective “fight or flight” response.  This hyper-aroused state is designed to be short-lived, and then usher us back …

Alaine DuncanJanuary News ‘n Views

December News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

Trauma Training Tip Allostasis is a term from Western neurophysiology that describes the process of how we achieve stability by distributing the impact of stress across various body-systems. Acupuncturists know this well – when we offer constitutional support, all aspects of a person’s capacity to manage their life are supported. Allostasis is what helps us survive, learn from and find stability after stressful experiences.   For example, touching a hot stove will signal a rise in adrenaline, alerting our flight response to quickly remove our hand.  Adrenalin also enhances our memory to help us avoid touching hot stoves in the future, …

Alaine DuncanDecember News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

November News ‘n Views

Trauma Treatment Tip While choosing the wrong points is never a good thing in anyone’s treatment — it is also not enough to simply choose the right points when working with survivors of trauma.  We need to prepare our patient to receive our needles.  We need to create a receptive field. Some patients won’t tolerate needles.  Their system is in a state of high arousal.  If their tissues are braced and tight Qi simply cannot flow through them.  We also risk stimulating greater dysregulation and more chaos when we needle into states of locked down, braced, hyper-aroused tissues.  We also risk losing the trust of …

Alaine DuncanNovember News ‘n Views

October News n Views

Trauma Training Tip Metal “type” trauma survivors are often overcome by grief. They may experience a very primal sense of shut down.  It is hard to inhale – to receive life – and any of the gifts that are here for them now – or exhale and let go of their past.  The question, “How can a loving God allow bad things happen to good people” is tormenting for them.  Their breath may be shallow and they may have deeply soulful survival guilt. Patients with survival guilt may feel grief or shame for surviving when someone else didn’t; for not …

Alaine DuncanOctober News n Views

September News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

Trauma Training Tip Can your patients notice something novel in their environment, such as a door closing or a voice in the hallway, without a lot of activation? Can they easily come back to the present moment, or do they become consumed by their arousal and “go away”? This is an expression of the vitality and flexibility in their parasympathetic nervous system – and the spirit of their Lung and their Po, or animal soul. The Po initiates our self-protective response.  It provides us with sensate, embodied awareness. The Po helps us distinguish excitation from threat.  When is a tickle fun, …

Alaine DuncanSeptember News ‘n Views on Integrative Healing

August News & Views

Trauma Training Tip. As Late Summer emerges, the corresponding organs, tissues and substances of the Earth Element will call out to us. Traumatic stress responses are held in body memory.  Trauma survivors will use different tissues to help them manage, contain, or control these overwhelming experiences.  The tissue that holds their stress pattern will depend on the nature of the trauma, their constitutional “type” and the management strategy that they used during and after the event or situation. Muscles or “flesh” are the tissue associated with the Earth Element.  Muscles carry a lot of sensory information.  When we speak of …

Alaine DuncanAugust News & Views

July News & Views

Trauma Training Tip Be playful with your patients!  Relationship heals!  We humans are tribal creatures that  require community and the need to feel connected to others is primal. In fact, shunning or ostracizing a community member equated to a death sentence in ancient cultures. In a recent Washington Post article, “A Hunger To Connect: Loneliness Hurts, but where would we be without it?” Marta Zaraska, reports that being lonely is bad for our health – she quotes a study that indicates the risk of dying over a 20-year period was 50% higher for lonely men and 49% higher for lonely women. Zaraska …

Alaine DuncanJuly News & Views